Do it Anyway, an Inspirational Poem
by Kent Keith and popularized by Mother Teresa
People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
• • •
I don’t know about you, but as I age the lessons seem to come faster and more furiously and in unexpected places.
This poem, attributed to Mother Theresa but written by someone else, always seems to appear in my sphere at the right time, reminding me of lessons learned and yet to be learned.
With the crystal clarity of six decades behind me I can see that my big lessons this lifetime all have to do with forgiveness: big, small, medium. All sizes and types.
And just when I think I’ve got it under control, some other situation will crop up in my life to test me again.
You’d think I’d ace the test, given that I already know the answers.
But no. It’s not that simple.
When people you’ve loved, dear friends, betray you in ways that seem unforgivable, well, they seem unforgivable.
Since I already know that freedom is in forgiving, I flounder around for a while (this part drives M. crazy) and then begin to parse the situation.
I can forgive her but not him.
I can forgive the people but not the act.
And so forth. Many permutations.
But you know what? It’s all the same.
Forgiveness can be hard. And it can seem impossible.
Yet, I know that it isn’t impossible, even in the most difficult of scenarios. Because once you’ve forgiven family, well, you’ve met the challenge.
Not too long ago something unforgivable happened in my world, or so I thought.
I said it was unforgivable.
And yet, that same day, I was able to find the path to forgiveness. To see the pain that lay beneath the action. To access the sad heart it belonged to.
And to forgive.
It’s important to remember that we’re on our soul’s journey here on earth and that it’s all about its growth. Each lesson in soul school is meant to be learned and practiced again and again.
The practice of forgiveness, it seems, will remain the theme of my life for its remainder.
I have no reason to keep people who cause pain in my life, but I do have the need to forgive them and release my own pain.
And to my relief, I could.
Because I am nothing if not an over-achiever, and I do NOT want to belabor the discomfort of the life review that’s waiting for me when it’s my turn to go.